Skip to content

New Studies on Ecommerce by CUTS and UNCTAD Study on Ecommerce in Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) During COVID Highlight Challenges

The international policy research body, CUTS, has just produced a very readable report on ecommerce in COVID times – and UNCTAD released a study on ecommerce mainly in the Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) UNCTAD study. Interestingly, these studies do not align. UNCTAD’s research suggests that many ecommerce businesses have seen a slump in sales. The Report admits that it had found it hard to collect data in the sample of 23 LDC countries (mainly African and Asian), but the researchers point to a stark divide between the pandemic’s impact on different actors in the digital economy. According to data collected between March and July 2020 from over 250 companies, most of which have less than 10 employees, 58% of businesses selling their own products or services online recorded a drop in monthly revenue, whereas about 64% of third-party marketplaces have seen a spike in sales. Two-thirds reported rising operational costs since the outbreak, and 44% expect to cut their workforce. The study reports a notable increase in digital financial services in the nations surveyed as consumers tried to limit exposure to the virus while paying for food, medicine, health and hygiene products and other goods. 64% of the ecommerce businesses that took part in the UNCTAD study reported an uptake in payments primarily through mobile money, followed by online and mobile banking, credit cards and other digital payment platforms, but COD (cash-on-delivery) still remains by far the preferred form of payment for ecommerce transactions in the LDCs. The study highlights the range of challenges ecommerce businesses have faced during the pandemic, notably disrupted supply chains, logistical problems arising from restrictions on the movement of people, and high broadband costs (in LDCs, only 19% of the population use the Internet and only 40% have access to a high-speed mobile broadband network). Nearly half the participants said governments had not prioritized the ecommerce sector sufficiently in their COVID response efforts and recovery plans. The pandemic has further exposed gaps in policy areas central to improving digital readiness in developing countries, such as weak ecommerce regulatory frameworks and bottlenecks in financing digital entrepreneurs and start-ups. But the participants did acknowledge that some measures taken by the public and private sectors have helped lower hurdles for businesses and consumers to use ecommerce services, including public awareness campaigns on the benefits of ecommerce, more digital skills training opportunities, and reduced e-payment transaction costs.

The Netherlands has given UNCTAD a grant of $1.5 million to assist Africa-wide ambitions to benefit from ecommerce and provide concrete support to LDCs.

Posted in

Alastair Tempest


  1. I m going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for brand spanking new information.

  2. Live TV on Feb 3, 2024 at 6:59 am

    Good article with great ideas! Thank you for this important article.Live TV

  3. alkass live football on Feb 9, 2024 at 11:12 am

    You’re so awesome! I don’t believe I have read a single thing like that before.-kitchen impossible live stream kostenlos

  4. crazy hot deals on Feb 21, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am really happy to read everthing at one place .Bird Feeding Dish Cups Hanging Stainless Steel Parakeet Feeder Bird Feeder for Cage

  5. hey dudes for girls on Feb 27, 2024 at 3:26 am

    I do not even understand how I ended up here but I assumed this publish used to be great . – hey dudes near me

  6. jordan shoes air jordan 1 on Apr 14, 2024 at 5:18 am

    o great to find someone with some original thoughts on this topic.

  7. Clicking Here on May 7, 2024 at 8:13 am

    I found the information you shared very enlightening, thank you! Discover More

Leave a Comment

Become a member

Join the Ecommerce Forum South Africa and benefit from industry insights in South Africa and Africa.

Sign up to newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and stay informed of the progress we are making at the Ecommerce Forum South Africa with government during Coronavirus.